Monthly Archives: August 2012

I Must Have Lost It On The Wind

Not a good day at all. In fact it basically started last night. Bill was on his way home and I made plans to meet him at the Path train. I also had tentative plans to see a friend do an acoustic set here in Hoboken and when I asked another friend if they were going, they said no. So I didn’t feel like going by myself plus this friend told me that lately all these people doing short acoustic sets around town have been playing some really depressing songs. I didn’t want to hear that so I just killed time at home.

My niece and I texted about going down the shore today and her itinerary involved being on the beach between 9 and 10 this morning. That meant I would have to get up early, catch a train with a beach chair and an umbrella and be out in Bergen County by 7:30. I wasn’t into it and told her that it was too early for me, but to have a good time. With that being taken care of I put it out of my mind and practiced my guitar a bit before heading out to the Path station.

It was a beautiful night with a beautiful moon and I enjoyed a cigar taking some lunar snapshots as I walked towards the Path train. Of course I was early and sat on a bench by the station steps and just waited with a few other folk. A couple of trains deposited people and eventually Bill made his appearance. I walked over and gave him a kiss and a hug and we walked along River Street towards home. Bill was full of details about his trip. This cousin, that aunt, his uncle, their kid, which of course was to be expected.

And also every little detail about the flight, the seat he sat in as well as the train trip and the near dilemma he had with his ticket on his smartphone which was rapidly losing power. When I heard him about to go off on a tangent I did my best to steer the conversation back to where it should be going rather than a discussion on the most minute details. Of course I had things to say but I wasn’t going to have my chance to say them, at least not while walking down the street.

After all my day was almost comical with the key dilemma. I got my chance to tell Bill about my day as we were walking through the apartment door. The GOP convention was on and that was stressing me out somewhat and I was curious to find out what happened when Clint Eastwood took the podium. We came home and Willard Romney was making his speech with quite an unenthusiastic audience. I knew I could find the Eastwood story online so that was no big deal.

Bill had settled in as we watched and we were both glad it was over since we wanted to watch the 11:00 news. Then came the Facebook messages. A message about why wasn’t I going to the beach with my niece and her husband. My answer was not satisfactory and the pressure was on. I explained that it was too early and read that there was no such thing as being too early. At 11:45 I was too stressed and took a Xanax since I knew if I didn’t I would more than likely be dwelling on the fact that I wasn’t going down the shore even though I had reconciled myself to the fact that I wasn’t going hours earlier.

Bill went to bed and all I had was a bad feeling and the Xanax was not working fast enough. It did kick in and soon I was fast asleep in bed. I barely remember Bill saying goodbye as he went to work this morning and as bad as I felt last night, I felt even worse this morning. The depression has lasted all day. Not because I wasn’t going down the shore, but the undue pressure that was applied to me last night. I know they meant well, but I was resigned to the fact that I was not going and the attempt of being pressured into it was not helping.

Chaz came by once again this morning with a bagel and more photos to scan. I decided to put them under his Facebook page rather than mine since they are his pictures and I’m not in most of them. It was the smart thing to do. I can’t say I was good company though and Chaz headed out about 90 minutes later. I ate my bagel and headed out to go busking. And busking was a bust. I was not into it at all, not feeling very outgoing and more than likely scowling as I strummed. After about 45 minutes I was done and headed back home.

I didn’t want to have anything to do with people at all, and that included Facebook which I am not on today. No pics, no posts, no sharing of memes and photos and whatever. And now that I am done with this entry, I am done for the day. No plans until tomorrow and that is more than fine with me. The ringer on my phone is off so if anyone calls me, I won’t hear it. I just want to be left alone and have this day put to rest as soon as possible.

I Must Be Dreaming

Yes indeed, this has been a strange day. It started out normally enough, waking up before the alarm clock. I slept fairly well despite Bill not being around. I was up and shuffling around doing my usual morning routine, shower, coffee & breakfast before heading out to deal with the world. A trip to CVS where I ran into Martin Kelly again. He was working and very funny as he usually is. Good to see him. Then it was off to the nearby supermarket and on the way I ran into Julio outside of his workplace. He was funny as well.

We texted each other last night and mentioned that Stine wants to have me over for dinner again. Julio of course joked that I eat all their food and drink all their wine. I remarked that I show up with a bottle of wine which Julio called rat poison. Still he drank the rat poison and it wasn’t so bad after all it seems. He went back to work and I ran in and out of the supermarket. No Isis to be seen. I haven’t seen her the past few times I’d been there so I guess she is on vacation.

More resumes sent out, revamped resumes. I decided to go with details rather than bullet points. I have a feeling that the detailed resume would go over better rather than the bullet points which require a quick scan before it goes into the circular file. Of course my detailed resume resembles something on par with James Joyce’s Ulysses. If there are no responses then perhaps I will hybridize the two and come up with something closely resembling a Brion Gysin cut up. If I put it to music it could sound like an outtake from David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs.

I decided to go busking this afternoon since I hadn’t since Tuesday. I was all set to go and had the guitar case and my shoulder bag as well as a bag of garbage. I eyed the keys hanging on the hook as I walked through the door and as soon as the door closed I realized I had locked myself out. I knocked on the neighbor’s door on the fifth floor, with the hope I can go through her window and into my apartment via the fire escape. But there was no one home. On the fourth floor I knocked again.

No one there either, nor on the third floor or the second floor and I knew no one was on the first floor. Apparently I am the only one home. I went outside and effectively locked myself out of my building. I texted Julio since I have a copy of his keys from the third floor apartment and he has a copy of ours. He knew he had a key but didn’t know where it was. He contacted Stine and instead of me standing around I started to walk to the waterfront to do my busking. I also tried calling Stine myself but there was no answer.

I walked past Tariq who was on his cellphone and set myself up about 20 yards away. I started tuning my guitar when my phone rang. It was Stine and I missed the call but got back to her right away. She was by Julio’s workplace and since I wasn’t around she was going to leave the keys with Julio. So I packed up and headed towards Julio’s place of work. Sure enough, there was Julio full of wisecracks about me getting old and forgetting my keys. We’ve been calling it ‘going Hawaii Five Oh’ since that will be my age soon enough.

I had the keys to the building and my apartment and climbed the stairs once more, putting away the guitar since it didn’t seem like busking would be part of my afternoon activities today. I did some practicing at home instead and dropped some change at my feet for effect.

Bill is back on the mainland, winding up at Dulles Airport and taking a train from Union Station to Penn Station. I was planning on seeing my friend Alice play tonight but I think I will stay in and wait for Bill to come home from his 24 hour journey.

And there is a chance I might go to the beach tomorrow. My niece Meghan and her husband Rob are going to Sandy Hook and I’ve been asked. They plan on going early and that’s fine by me. Meghan mentioned a while back that if they were going down the shore and if I wanted to go it would be easier for me to go out to them via public transportation rather than have them come to Hoboken. I don’t know if that’s the same plan. I would have a chair and a beach umbrella to bring with me and it could be cumbersome.

But it’s not that big a deal and I am sure I can make the most of it if I have to.

And now I have a key in my wallet.

This just in: there will be no beach for me tomorrow.

Julio’s workplace

2 – Downtown

I Heard That Song Before

I read somewhere online that someone posted that they were of the age were a happy hour means a nice nap. I just had a nice happy hour. The way I feel now, I could probably sleep all night, but it’s not even 6:30PM and I would probably wake up early and not be able to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. So here I am, slowly coming out of the fog of sleep. I guess I needed it though I do feel I had a pretty good and solid night of sleep last night.

Bill is in Puerto Rico. Yes, he went for the funeral this morning and will be back tomorrow. Obviously I had no say in the matter, it was a matter of familial concern obviously, a concern that did not include my input in the slightest. When he told me last night after venting about his bus ride for ten minutes last I was upset, but kept it inward with my mouth shut. And like I said it’s a family thing and if I were in his position I would likely be doing the same. No one in the New York area can go so it fell to Bill.

He made arrangements last night for a car rental in San Juan and since he used his mileage points from a credit card it did not cost him the grand it was originally quoted as. He left this morning, early to take a train to Secaucus and then a train to Newark Penn Station and finally to Newark Airport. He landed in San Juan safe and sound around 1:00 this afternoon. I am certain his family appreciates him being there, more than likely taken aback by the fact that he made the trip.

Today in Hoboken not much has changed. A few errands to do today meant no busking for me and since the toddlers were not around yesterday I couldn’t be sure if they would be around today. Tomorrow I’ll be back busking with a new song hopefully under my belt. It’s been a gorgeous day yet again. People are making noise about how the summer is ending but I will remain true to the fact that summer ends September 21 and not Labor Day weekend. Sure summer businesses close around Labor Day but overall there is still a few weeks left.

With Bill off the continent it’s sure to be a low key evening. I doubt I will be watching the Republicunt convention. I tried watching it last night and found it nauseating. The rumor that there will be a Reagan hologram much like the Tupac Shakur hologram at Coachella earlier this year does seem interesting enough to have be give it a look see, hopefully someone on Facebook will post when and if it is actually happening. I might take a walk after this is posted to see the soccer match that is being broadcast on Pier A this evening.

Other than that, I got nothing.

4 – Dedicated to the One I Love

I Live For You

Wow. Just coming back to life. Been a weird day and that was partially from not eating much. Had a bowl of cereal this morning and then this afternoon for lunch I had two eggs. I bought a dozen eggs this morning and when I brought them home found two of them were cracked so I decided to fry ‘em up and eat them for lunch. Well apparently that wasn’t enough. I went out busking this afternoon, there were no toddlers (who always bring a boost of energy and happiness) but still I played for about two and half hours.

I think I am getting better and today’s new song was You Won’t See Me by the Fabs and I even sang along to it. So I strummed along while being bitten by flies and hopefully not fleas. That was troublesome, I’d strum and then have to stop to scratch my legs and occasionally pour some Purell on the gams. Not too many people around today and in the distance I could hear someone with a conga. I decided to stay put and continue playing. After a while I moved up the promenade and sat and read Mojo magazine and enjoyed a cigar.

I came home after finishing the magazine and the cigar and just felt so fatigued so I took a nap. I set the online alarm clock for an hour and slept about 50 minutes. I figured I needed something to eat and set about making some dinner. As I was getting started the phone rang and it was Bill and he sounded stressed. He did take a day off from work yesterday so the work had probably piled on his desk and still his mind and heart is reeling from his cousin’s murder so that would stress anyone.

He was frantic since he had clothes at the dry cleaners that needed to be picked up and they were closing in five minutes. So I put on my flip flops and walked around the block, putting my food prep on hold. I was still pretty much tired but Bill needed his clothes so off I went. I was back in ten minutes anyhow and set about finishing getting my dinner ready. And it was a good dinner, still reading Carole King’s memoir and careful not to get any pesto on the pages. Carole is getting sued by the neighbors in Idaho.

As I was eating I had the TV on MSNBC and the orange man himself John Boehner was on doing his shtick. I started to lose my appetite and had to get up and walk into the next room and change the channel. I suppose it’s going to be like this for the rest of the week should I choose to watch the news channels. I am tempted to watch at 10:30 when the New Jersey governor Chris Christie is making the keynote speech. I have money on this speech, or rather that the stage will collapse under his weight, but more so under his ego.

Last night Bill and I finally watched the Road Warrior. We’d both seen it before but I think I had seen it more. It is truly one of the best action films ever, George Miller did a fantastic job. Despite seeing it maybe a dozen times more or less, it still amps up the intensity. It is definitely a film to own. Just incredible 30 years later. And of course there is the homoerotic vibe of the bad guys in leather, specifically Wez and his blonde boy toy on the back of his motorcycle.

And I still say the prologue of The Road Warrior is almost exactly what is going on today and where this world could be headed.

peek a boo

09 – Breakin’ in My Heart

I Must Be High

It’s a Monday and it’s been a weird weekend. There was the play Bill was stage managing on Saturday evening during which I nodded off about a half dozen times. Then there was an associate of Bill’s that wanted me to write a review which I did and it turned out to be quite nasty, so nasty that I assigned yet another pen name to it. I wasn’t even done with the review when Bill read it and loved it and sent it off to his friend. The next day was even weirder than anyone had anticipated and it was bad.

It turned out one of Bill’s cousins in Puerto Rico was murdered. No information besides that bad news. Bill was planning on going to the funeral which meant flying down to Puerto Rico for the day, but with the timing and the hurricane weather he couldn’t do it. Plus, he is singing the national anthem and Zeus Bless America on Saturday before the Staten Island Yankees game on Saturday night. I reassured Bill that his family in Puerto Rico are sure to understand, but Bill is understandably upset with what happened. And for Bill that is simply not enough.

He came home after an audition yesterday afternoon followed by some wandering around Central Park. I sat by the river and smoked a cigar and read the Carole King memoir. Bill came home midway through the True Blood season finale and I paused it, eventually stopping it all together so Bill can get things off his chest and perhaps cry on my shoulder. I was glad I could be there for him. He came down to earth just in time to watch the season finale of the newsroom which we both enjoyed very much. After the news Bill went to bed and I of course stayed up.

Bill took off from work today to visit his family in Manhattan and I did some grocery shopping before a major rain storm. Thanks to some rare good thinking on my part, I brought an umbrella and was home just a few minutes before the skies opened up and it started coming down in sheets. No busking for me today but I wasn’t too keen on staying inside, so once it stopped and the sky was blue again, I headed out to read some more Carole King by the river, on the way running into a lovely couple, Karyn and Christine.

I sat and read and enjoyed a cigar. I got to the part where Carole King was an abused wife. Really bad, punched in the face by her boyfriend (not Gerry Goffin). It was a bit harrowing told in Carole’s voice, how she never could understand why women stay in abusive relationships and then all of a sudden she was an abused wife. The guy eventually died of a cocaine overdose, found in a shooting gallery in Los Angeles. I met Carole King once and thought she was very nice and humble and proud of her daughter Louise who I had seen perform a few nights earlier.

Now it’s later, the sun is going down in a grey sky. Learning some new songs on the guitar, this time I am trying to figure out Jeepster by T. Rex. Easy enough but the chord changes are tricky.

How do I get to Carnegie Hall?

I Must Belong Somewhere

I just got home from seeing the play Bill has been stage managing for the past two weeks. It was the last night and so I went. And it was a mishmash of things dealing quite loosely with Dada and Surrealism. Very loosely. It had been a long day for me and I have to admit I nodded off a few times, like seven times throughout the play. I was tainted by Bill’s stress from a few weeks ago so my eye was a bit jaundiced. I went in prejudiced and was somewhat justified by that fact when I left the theater.

And the play takes place in the 1920’s which makes it the third thing I had seen in the past week that takes place in the twenties. The Artist, Singing in the Rain and now this, Who Murdered Love. A Jazz Age trifecta. The first two, The Artist and Singing in the Rain are definitely top shelf, the play was somewhere on a lower shelf.

Despite nodding out a few times (I was in the back row, no one near me so no one knew) I am pretty tired now. I hardly ever go to the Village these days and when I do it certainly is not during the weekend. Here it is, a Saturday and the streets were crowded with people. Now it’s a bit later, Bill and I watched Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell which woke me up somewhat. But what worked better was the pizza we just devoured from Grimaldi’s.

Now we are watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox on DVD. I had seen it before but Bill hadn’t so that is what is on. I asked if he wanted to watch a movie and he said sure. So I asked if he wanted comedy or action and he picked comedy. The alternative is The Road Warrior which is one of my favorite all time movies. Great action, great story, probably the last great movie or the only great movie Mel Gibson ever made. The first time I saw it was in Paramus with a friend, Al Lewis. Al had some powders at the time and suggested we put that powder up our noses. Having never done that before I agreed.

The combination of those powders and the nail biting action had me at the edge of my seat and probably contributed to my insane driving that night. The powders are long gone with no regrets and the movie still holds a special place in my cinema pantheon. I remember seeing New Order at the Paradise Garage in the 1980’s a few years later and in a large lounge within the garage they were showing Road Warrior, silent but still with all the action intact.

New Order playing to a packed house, singing ‘How does it feel, to sing in front of assholes like you’ in one room and the next room Max versus Humungous in a silent battle. Oh someone in the audience yelled to New Order, ‘We love you anyway’. No, it wasn’t me. I just remember being the only person on the dance floor listening to Larry Levan play just for me, Our Lips are Sealed by the Fun Boy Three, after everyone else had left the Paradise Garage.

01 come together

I Must Be Seeing Things

They tell me it’s a Friday and judging by the lack of foot traffic on the waterfront I have to agree. It’s been a rollercoaster of a day. Maybe it has something to do with my staying up later than usual, watching Singing in the Rain on Turner Classic Movies. Yes I’d seen it before but it really is such a good movie and after watching The Artist last week, it was an interesting comparison to make. Both movies take place in Hollywood, the late 1920’s and dealing with the advent of talking pictures. It helped that both Gene Kelly and Jean Dujardin are easy on the eyes.

I think the last time I watched Singing in the Rain was with Bill and Juan. Well Bill came home last night and soon after that he was in bed. I did my thing and watching Singing in the Rain until 2:00 in the morning should have helped me go to sleep better, or at least I thought it would. No, I would sleep for about 20 minutes, then wake up and try to go back to sleep for 10 minutes then repeat the cycle all over again. Bill was up and out in the morning leaving me to toss and turn some more.

Chaz was planning on stopping by this morning and after showering and some coffee I did my best to tidy up the apartment which in this case meant making room on the coach so Chaz would have a place to sit down. He had a few photos he wanted me to scan and so that is what I did with Chaz. Some old pictures of friends from the Maxwells days, and quite a few pictures of Chaz with rock and roll celebrities, like Donovan, Elvis Costello, Marky Ramone and Peter Gabriel.

I am sure there are a number of other photos somewhere. We plan on doing more scanning next week, unless we both find jobs. Which leads me to the rollercoaster of the day. This morning I get a phone call from an unknown number. I usually ignore those (since I am on a restricted plan) but I felt I should take this one. On the line was a woman named Jane who works for an agency I met with in 2009. My former supervisor Bobby Risotto set the whole thing up back then. I went no further than that meeting.

It was a good phone chat with Jane, she now had my file and wanted to meet with me. It was too late for today so she scheduled a meeting on Monday morning at 11:00. I felt hopeful and excited since this was the first bit of good employment news (a possibility actually) since May. I had to run a few errands before Chaz came over so I went to the bibliothèque and hit Washington Street. As I was leaving Hoboken Daily News, my phone rings. It was Jane again.

I guess she spoke with the woman (Melissa) that I met with in 2009. Jane was calling me to tell me not to bother, there was no need to meet on Monday. A polite brush off. I spoke with Chaz about it and he had heard that song before. My hopes were dashed once more. Jane did request my updated resume which I will send, but I feel it’s pointless. I was all set to go on Monday but the polite brush off as well as inquiring about your age (they can’t ask that outright, so they ask when you graduated from high school) is the way staffing agencies work these days. Perhaps it’s not the experience their looking for, it’s the potential. And I can’t help but feel that is something I am sorely lacking in.

But who cares? It’s Friday, right? Busking went alright today, like I said not so much foot traffic, and some competition from a guy named Rick who set up about 20 yards away from me. I thought it was rude but that’s how it goes. Tariq was hanging out with him and not me but I did feel inspired by the competition and so I sang and played Twist and Shout. It’s hard to do the three part harmonies but I got by.

This is the 2,348 posting.

Here are some of Chaz’ photos. All photos © Charles Charas 2012

13 Right Back Where We Started From

I Must be Saved

Today has been something special. Just really a good day. I slept well and the back ache that I did not write about yesterday has subsided somewhat. I must have slept funny because yesterday I felt bruised. But I wasn’t bruised, just achy. Today, not so much. And it’s been a gorgeous day overall. I just got back from a few hours of busking and it went really well. The toddlers were in good form and they love dancing around when I play, one kid has his eye on my guitar picks, another kid loves to see what is in the guitar case.

The minders are on top of it, especially when the kid started playing with a dollar bill in the guitar case. And of course, if you high five one of the kids, you have to high five all of them. And now the kids all want a turn strumming my guitar. Of course they’re not delicate, they hit- rather than stroke the strings but I usually take care of the situation and lift the guitar just out of reach. No crybabies, just fascinated kids. And there were a few toddlers besides the day care kids and they enjoyed themselves.

When I got to my spot by Pier A in Hoboken, a bloke walked up and admired my guitar, my Fender F-210. I had just gotten there and he sat a few feet away as I started to warm up. He asked if I could pick the strings when I play and I admitted that I rarely do that, except for my mutant version of Tracks of My Tears picking is difficult. I would love to play Dear Prudence or at least play Blackbird as well as Julio’s wife Stine does. The only song she claims to know and it’s difficult and intimidating to me.

The bloke, Randy- showed me a song to play finger picking, Edelweiss. Beautiful song from the Sound of Music, and I tried watching his fingers but couldn’t quite get it. He went back to work and I did my repertoire. After a few hours of that I packed up, but the thought of the song stayed with me, so I looked up the chords online via my smartphone and found myself strumming along, very easy to play. Not quite up to finger picking but still a very nice song to practice with.

So much so that a big guy sat down and listened to me play it for about twenty minutes. Then he walked away and I kept playing it, getting better I think, strum by strum. I was pretty hungry and decided to head home for dinner. And that is where I am now. I also just listened to Christopher Plummer singing Edelweiss which reminds me I should slow down the strumming and not make it a hard core version. Soft and sweet if the way to go if I’m going to do it right. It also helped that Bill & I watched a documentary about Oscar Hammerstein II on PBS a few weeks ago and it was repeated the other night.
That’s about it for today. I am hungry.

Old pics

I Missed Again

So it’s a Wednesday here in Hoboken but it’s even better than that, it is my sister’s birthday today! She is one of my favorite people on the planet so I am happy to send her birthday greetings, as well as a nice package that I made and sent off on Monday. It’s due to arrive in foggy California this afternoon and I am awaiting confirmation via tracking. Just something to obsess upon today. I was running low on obsessions and this came along quite nicely. I did speak with Annemarie on the phone and she sounded great and is going out to dinner tonight.

As for me, I took some melatonin last night and had difficulty waking up. Going to sleep was slow going, but as usual the waking up is difficult. But I rallied, I shuffled out of bed a mere fifteen minutes later than usual. That meant catching up to my daily routine wasn’t that hard to do. And it wasn’t. There was nothing out of the ordinary (except for Annemarie’s birthday) today. Laundry was done, resumes sent out once again, busking planned. It was all rather low key, almost humdrum. It’s been a nice enough day.

I was out busking this afternoon, slow going this weekend. I really think a lot of people took this week off from their jobs. Can’t blame them really. I had a visitor this afternoon, good old Chaz stopped by. Once again if a friend is near I have no problem singing and playing. With no friend around I merely play, rarely singing. Though the toddlers usually get me singing when they come by. They marched on over and I sand Sunshine Superman to them. I was going to do Rock Around the Clock when they returned but it didn’t happen.

It seems that when the toddlers got to their turn around point they ran away from their minders. So they were all sullen and hanging onto the rope when they walked by. No stopping for the guitar man this time. It was good to have Chaz around though. He’s still looking for work. He’s been doing the Geico dance. They’ve been after me for a while and they got Chaz in their sights. And it costs money to get a job with them. Seemed fishy when I first heard about them and now Chaz has confirmed the fishiness of it.

Some dark clouds (literal not figurative) came rolling in so my busking time was cut short. I walked Chaz back to his car, on the way stopping and buying two CD’s, the Priscilla Queen of the Desert movie soundtrack and Big Audio Dynamite II, The Globe. Not bad at fifty cents each. Last night Bill and I watched a documentary on Joe Strummer- The Future is Unwritten. To my surprise Bill seemed to enjoy it, Punk and the Mescaleros. Bill didn’t know how much The Clash meant to me and I explained it all. He seemed to have gotten something from the documentary and how I feel about music.

I thought he knew already.
Package delivered to Annemarie’s mailbox! Woo hoo!

I Miss You Joe Strummer*

A nice day in Hoboken. Nice enough that there was plenty of parking meaning that a lot of people are out of town this week. Maybe they wanted to use their vacation time and head down the shore or wherever it is that they go. It’s been a cool day, not too hot at all. A little cloudy which could account for the cooler temperatures. On the west we have a cold front moving in with a 40% chance of a storm later in the night. Here’s your seven day forecast and now over to Knob Dore with sports. Knob?

Last night I went out again. It’s amazing the fact that in the past three days, I have gone out twice. A major accomplishment for the shut in that I seem to have become. I went to DC’s Tavern a few blocks away from my apartment to see a friend Mike play an acoustic set. I foolishly got there at 8:00 like the time was posted. You’d think that after working at Maxwells for over 10 years, I would know that the scheduled show time is hardly ever the actual time that bands or acts appear and last night was no different.

Rand and Lisa were coming and I decided to wait outside and have a smoke. The music inside was a bit too ugly for this sensitive lad and it’s one thing to sit there and listen to it and suffer but to have two good friends there to suffer with can make it somewhat enjoyable. It was actually the second time I had been to DC’s Tavern. The first time was a couple of years ago with Rand & Lois and last night was Rand and Lisa. I guess having rand there with a woman whose name starts with an ‘L’ is the way to go.

I gave Mike a bobble head Mr. Met badge for him to wear for good luck. He claimed to have a sore throat and feared he wouldn’t be able to sing the way he usually does but he was fine. There was no need for him to explain the condition of his voice but he did it anyway. DC’s Tavern is a small place and I don’t know how they could have any major events going on. It seems to want to be a roadhouse or something like that but it was cozy.

Rand and Lisa showed up right before Mike started playing. I was working on some Guinness while Rand had some wine and I don’t know what Lisa was drinking. There was a funny moment when I looked down the bar from my end of the bar and if there were a dozen people sitting, at least 10 of them had their smartphones out, texting or looking things up online. I did the same, checking in via Facebook, and posting some pictures of Mike as he played his guitar. And Mike did a very good job despite his misgivings about his voice.

We stayed for the other two singers who followed Mike. I wasn’t planning on it but since Rand and Lisa were staying I did too. Rand made a good point of how these acoustic players singing their own songs seem to sing very sad, maudlin songs. That’s no fun. Laughter between songs but the songs themselves seem to be filled with some god awful sturm und drang. I resolve not to do that if and when I start writing my own songs. I already wrote some lyrics last week, now I just have to find where I put them and then put some music to it.

Had a good walk home with Rand & Lisa afterwards, many jokes about Harry Chapin and his song ‘Taxi’, a song that qualifies as ‘deep’ when you’re 13 years old but after that it is a bit of an embarrassment. I did my busking routine this afternoon, playing for the toddlers. They just love the guitar as much as they like giving me a high five. Today’s songs were I Want to Hold Your Hand and Hateful by the Clash, in honor of Joe Strummer’s birthday. If there is an inspiration for me with regards to busking, it would be Joe Strummer.

I also had some fun today with a scam artist who was trying to get my bank info since I “expressed interest in working for his company”. The funny thing is he was emailing my general address, not the ‘official’ address that I use when sending out resumes. I get a few potential scammers a week and today was fun making them chase their tail around until they got tired and realized they weren’t getting shit from me. This guy couldn’t even tell me where the CH Foundation is or where “Social Care Families” Charity Organization might be. Sure, here’s my bank info! Tell all your scamming friends!

*not an actual song. not yet at least.

Mike Cecchini

Thanks Joe, wherever you are in the universe.

06 (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais
04 – Bhindi Bhagee

I Miss You- Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes

Well it’s a bittersweet symphony this life…I’ve been playing that song lately on the guitar. Easy to play, with many lyrics to remember. I was playing that this afternoon while busking by the river. I know I have the chord sequence down, just the words are a problem. I remember in the nineties that Julio really liked the song and I was fairly indifferent. Nowadays, I am into the song and Julio is the one who is indifferent. Well he does have a kid so that is the perfect excuse, knowing that there are more important things in life besides a 5:58 song.

Yes today I was busking and I think it went well. I taught myself Rock Around The Clock for the toddlers who wander by and of course they loved it. They get so excited when they see me, though today they all hung onto the rope until their minders said it was OK. Once they got the OK they scream and dance and throw twigs and leaves into my guitar case. And I form a chord on the upper part of the neck, and I allow them to strum or actually hit the strings on the guitar.

Once again they made my day, such excitement in their eyes. One their return back to the day care center I basically played a three chord mish mosh and took one of the minder’s requests to sing the rope song, aka ‘Get On the Rope’ sung over and over again. And the kids listen and get on the rope, walking away they all yell ‘bye bye’ and I tell them to be good and I will see them tomorrow. It’s a good feeling. I think I will sing ‘Why’d Ya Do It’ by Marianne Faithfull next time, if I could find the chords.

I went to see the Tokyo Police Club on Saturday night on Pier A in Hoboken. I met Rand & Lisa in the beer garden that was set up and had a great time with them. Tokyo Police Club was ‘meh’. They had the right chords and were certainly earnest in their playing, but they lacked any edge to their songs which rendered them instantly forgettable to my ears as well as Rand’s. After a trip to the train station’s loo, the three of us walked haphazardly around Hoboken, running into Tariq busking on the sidewalk on Washington Street.

He saw me and asked where my guitar was, inviting me to play along. The guitar was home and not coming out. Plus he seemed to be doing alright without me. Rand and Lisa and I walked to their house and sat on the stoop. Rand was lending Bill some computer thing so that meant Bill was coming over to get it, though I could have just as easily brought it home. I entertained Lisa with the Cookie Monster version of Call Me Maybe, the summer hit, this time called ‘Share It Maybe’. I like it more than the original.

Tonight I am going to see Mike Cecchini play at a local pub, DC’s. He’s going on first so that suits me just fine. I think Rand and Lisa are going to that as well. I really should spend more time with Rand & Lisa instead of sitting around at home. They’re good people and out of all my friends I’ve known Rand the longest. That is all I have planned, low key, not spending much money if I can help it. True Blood was very good last night, one episode left for the season. Newsroom was also good.

Bill and I finally watched The Artist on Saturday night and it was great. Such a charming film. I could easily see why it won the awards that it did. Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo were just so perfect in their roles it was a bit unnerving to see them in color as well in contemporary settings on the extras. And now I want a Jack Russell terrier. Luckily Pedro had a Jack Russell, Snoop- who passed away a year or so ago, so I know how much of a high energy dog it is, too much energy for a railroad apartment in Hoboken.

Not crowded and quite comfortable on Pier A for the show



Inside the waiting room at the train station


01 I Can Help

I Miss You- Beyoncé

A lovely Saturday today. I’ve been busy and right now I am boiling a pot of water so I can have some ravioli for dinner. Then after that I plan on checking out another music festival on Pier A. The headliners are Tokyo Police Club, a band I heard of but never actually heard. I am also getting some discs together for my sister’s birthday. Just a few things, no mix tapes, just straight up discs. Right now I am listening to Me’Shell Ndegeocello’s latest, Weather and it’s better than I anticipated. She was getting more and more esoteric and this is a return to form.

Last night it was raining and I didn’t go out. Of course even if it weren’t raining I would have likely stayed in. I watched Bill Maher while my Bill was at the Yankee game. Yankees vs. Red Socks I believe. Who won I couldn’t say, but I guess it was the Yankees since Bill was in a very good mood when he walked through the door. Bill Maher was alright, smarmy as usual and when no one laughs at his jokes he thinks he’s crossed a line, not thinking that the joke was not funny to begin with. It’s ‘them’ not ‘him’.

I hoped Bill would be interested in watching The Artist but it was late and he had a full day and I did not think he would have the energy required to pay attention to a silent film. So instead we watched Bringing Up Baby which I have seen dozens of times and Bill had never seen before except for the clip where Cary Grant in Hepburn’s bathrobe jumps up and shouts that he’s gone gay. But it was late and Bill made it to the halfway point. I stayed up a little while after that.

I heard from a former favorite customer of mine from the cigar shack. Nice guy, great family. He was surprised that I was no longer there when he asked for me, and apparently the line being told is that I have been looking for something more ‘officey’, meaning a job in an office. Which is true somewhat. The former favorite customer was concerned enough to give me a lead on a position and so I sent out two emails when I had the chance. I was filled with that familiar feeling of hope once again.

I did not expect a rejection email so quickly though, a rejection via iPhone. I sent out two emails and got one ‘we are not hiring right now but will keep it on file’ response. I have so many resumes on file throughout Manhattan and I am sure there are thousands of other people who also have their resumes on file. I have been in that position and I know, there is no file except for the circular file underneath most desks in the human resources department. Oh how I dislike that feeling of hope. It just brings on despair. At least it does for me.

No worries, I’ve moved on. I’ve only brought it up since it did happen today. And the water is on the boil and I am so easily called away…

11 Wasted Time

I Miss You- Randy Newman

You must be happy it’s a Friday. After all, you are probably in that Monday through Friday mindset and having worked those five days, you are ready for the weekend. I can’t say I am ready for the weekend since all the days seem to blur into one another. I could tell it is the weekend in Hoboken since there are plenty of parking spaces to be had. Those spaces will likely be taken up by the party people coming to town to get down and do whatever it is party people do these days. I don’t party anymore so I wouldn’t know.

Last night I was pretty tired after having walked around midtown yesterday afternoon. I just chilled out at home, Bill came home from the play he is stage managing. They ditched the director and the lighting designer so it will hopefully be smooth sailing for the remaining shows. But of course since it’s the Fringe festival with stringent rules, there was not a lot of time for Bill to figure out the light board and so there were a few glitches that Bill had to work through. Two thirds in, he figured it out so that was good.

I went to sleep a bit later than the night before and fell asleep for an hour. Then I woke up again and tried falling asleep, with some difficulty. This occurred several times through the night and when Bill kissed me goodbye this morning, instead of some reaction from me, apparently I could not be roused despite three attempts. I slept through it and when I started to wake up, I had no recollection of Bill kissing me goodbye and feared he was out cold on the floor in the next room. I always assume the worst. Happily I was wrong.

It’s been another gorgeous day, and I was psyched for some busking this afternoon. It had been a number of days when I last strummed the guitar by the river and I was somewhat eager to give it a go. After lunch I got my gear together and headed out. Still working on Can’t Find My Way Home as well as I Want to Hold Your Hand, which still has some problems, but overall it has improved. It being a Friday, not too many people were out but the toddlers were. They love me, they scream, they squeal and dance up and down while some of the kids put leaves and twigs in my guitar case.

One of their handlers was kind enough to throw a buck into the case as I was requested to sing the ‘Get on the Rope’ song. It’s just a few chords and the lyrics are ‘Get on the rope/get on the rope’. The kids all walk together holding onto a rope under the watchful eyes of their handlers. I think they like that song more than I Want to Hold Your Hand so in their eyes I have a leg up on Lennon and McCartney. After two and a half hours I had enough playing, the kids were gone for the weekend.

plus ça change

this guy is always eyeballing me…

04 Missing

I Miss You- Bjork

It’s been quite an interesting day. First off I went to bed earlier and slept later than I intended. It was alright, I didn’t miss anything really. Bill had off to deal with the play from heck this afternoon and he also had to go to the department of motor vehicles since his wallet was stolen while in Philadelphia and needed to get a new license. He kissed me good bye and I stayed in bed, trying to hide from the sun for a few minutes longer. It worked for a little while then my body asked, ‘Who was I kidding?’

So I got out of bed and showered, made some coffee and had some cereal. No plans for busking today since I was going to be on the other side of the Hudson River. I don’t think I am good enough to play on the streets of Manhattan, I don’t even think I am good enough to play on the streets of Hoboken which is why I usually stick to the waterfront promenade. Less money, less guts, more stamina. No I had people to see in Manhattan and I also wanted to pick up some good cigars while I was there.

I took the Path train since I had my foot path all planned out. And NJ Transit bus schedules between rush hours are screwed up. You show up for the scheduled 1:15 bus and finally a bus shows up at 1:50. No point in asking the driver since they are generally ignorant and more often than not they are the ones who are late and don’t want to be reminded of that fact. Believe me I have asked and got no definite answer in return just the general patented belligerence of most NJ Transit drivers, except for Chief.

I walked down Washington Street to the Path train, not seeing anyone I knew. Found a nice seat on the train, nice and air conditioned and not crowded at all. I read some more of the James Wolcott book and soon enough I was in Herald Square. From there I called my friend Jesse who was unavailable so I walked over to JR Cigar on Fifth Avenue. Found some very good and nicely priced cigars and snagged a few. As I exited the store Jesse called and I met up with him for a few minutes before jetting further uptown.

Yes, Columbus Circle was my destination. The scene of the crime as it were. A few weeks before I was emancipated from the cigar shack courtesy of the bruised ego of Zack, the manager who professed to be so spiritual as to not have an ego, I lent a customer my copy of Luis Bunuel’s memoir, My Last Sigh. I’ve had a few copies of the book and lent them to friends or even gave them to friends and since this was the last copy I had and unable to get it again since it is out of print, I wanted it back.

So with some schedule coordination I was able to meet ace customer Lou Moreno who handed the book over. Lou is busy running a theater company and was juggling phone calls. He apologized for being unavailable to hang out and I totally understood. Lou went his way and I started to go mine when I ran into Jerrode, a former cigar shack employee who still works in the area. He was interested in hanging out so I happily obliged. We had a good talk. He’s turning 47 next week and new management at the store where he works is making a once happy work environment a bit hellish.

As we sat and talked outside the cigar shack area, another former employee of the cigar shack popped up. It was Sean who was interested in talking to me so once Jerrode went back to work, I met up with Sean. We walked over to the salad bar where I used to eat and had a nice lunch. Sean got married and has a baby on the way. He swore he told me he was getting married but I’m quite sure he didn’t. I congratulated him between bites of salad.

We swapped tales of the cigar shack. It turns out something I didn’t believe about him was true. He owned up to it and he regrets it, but what’s done is done. Steve Gray was right apparently (posted for those cigar shack employees who might read this). He also told me that I had been replaced by a nice guy, a former customer named Ryan who is now working part time. Ryan looks like I used to look like if I was a few inches shorter and about 50 pounds heavier minus 25 years. It was good to see Sean cleaning up his act. He is happy and doing well and living with his wife in Brooklyn. Sean went back to work and I started to head towards the bus terminal. But I had to pee.

I remembered that I did tell some neighbors of the cigar shack that I wouldn’t be back unless I had to use the bathroom and sure enough that is what I did. It’s a public restroom and to my chagrin it was definitely cruise central. I recognized the vibe from 30 years ago, a bunch of guys standing around waiting for the odd man out (me) to leave so they could get back into whatever it was they were doing before I relieved myself.

After washing my hands and making my way through about 6 guys standing around, I headed out to the street, walking what felt like being a floor above the cigar shack. It was a nice day and after stopping by Boots and Belts, a nearby S&M store I was out on the street, relighting a cigar that I had let extinguish earlier. I was glad to have made the jaunt to the area and saw some good people. Too bad the cigar shack puts out a strange vibe, but that could have been because Zack and or the Possum might have been working. I was happy not to see either one of them.

Still Looking for song lists readers…help a blogga out!

According to Stephen N via Twitter and Facebook, Songfacts are having difficulty. Maybe they’re under attack, rendering them as ‘unsafe’.
And at 8:05PM, Stephen N commented that Songfacts is/are up and running. Thank you Stephen N, whomever you are!

“what fresh hell is this?” Dorothy Parker


07 I Miss You

I Miss You- DeBarge

This week is turning out to be quite a washout. Rain and threats of rain have kept me indoors more than I would like. I am not too happy about it, but what can I do? I have no say in the matter. At least I did go outside last night and I am glad I did. I went to the bibliothèque to pick up Me’Shell Ndegeocello release, aptly titled ‘Weather’ and the Carole King memoir, Natural Woman. While there I ran into my friend Lois and walked her over to the church where the Hoboken Fair Housing Association was having a meeting.

We had a good talk before she went inside and I enjoyed a cigar and walked over to Shipyard Park at 13th Street and Hudson Street. The Guitar Bar All Stars were playing and I could hear them a block away. Since the area was quite residential, it was only an hour long and was over by 8:00. Jim Mastro was running the show and Meghan was there with their daughter Ruby. Ruby had her nose in a book when I first got here while she was taking care of the Ukulele table and info on kids lessons.

Meghan looked great and it was good to see her. Karyn Kuhl was also there with her pretty girlfriend Christina. They make a nice couple. And it was all over with a ukulele version of Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones. There was a plan to meet up at Guitar Bar Jr. on 11th Street and they started packing things up as I wandered over to the river to enjoy my cigar some more. Then I realized I would have to let it die out since I needed to stop by Maxwells on my way to Guitar Bar Jr.

The Hoboken Fair Housing Association is hoping to have a benefit and they’re hoping that Maxwells could give them a night in late October before the election. I was asked to see if Todd was around and ask him myself or get him ready to be asked by someone in an official capacity. But Todd wasn’t there, it was Dave Post who told me that Todd does all the booking and is usually there on Wednesday and Friday nights. I left Maxwells and walked the 2 blocks to Guitar Bar Jr., just as they were unloading the car with equipment.

Meghan and Ruby made their way, Ruby carrying a bag of ice. Jim appeared with some Pabst Blue Ribbon as well as some wine and some pale ale. I didn’t have a drink though, I just talked with Meghan and a friend of hers, talking about politics and Facebook. I got a call from a frazzled Bill who asked me to get him some soy milk at the supermarket so I cut short my time at the party and did some grocery shopping. I didn’t mind since it was getting noisy and hot in the Guitar Bar Jr.

Bill was home when I got home and proceeded to tell me about his day and his headaches dealing with this cast, but mainly the director of the show. Lots of phone calls between Bill and the producer and the director as well as Bill’s assistant. After that he went to bed and I stayed up. Apparently the night before I started watching From Here to Eternity on Turner Classic Movies and went to bed soon after Donna Reed appears. Bill had never seen it before and stayed up to watch the whole movie to my surprise.

This morning I got a phone call from downstairs neighbor Deborah. She found out that Chief’s name was actually Spence and told me how he wound up talking to her the whole ride into the city. He was asking lots of questions about me and also telling Deborah that there was a woman who was very much into me and supposedly on her behalf he was pumping Deborah for information about me. Deborah told him that I was gay and he seemed surprised since I didn’t seem to act gay, whatever that means.

Something else I find interesting, I used to go to a website called song facts to get a list of songs that start with an “I”. A week or so ago Firefox deemed the website unsafe. No matter, I use Chrome mostly and had no problems logging in until yesterday. And now, as of today, the website is inaccessible, perhaps shut down. I never went for the lyrics just the song titles. So if anyone has a link to song lists, do let me know.


I Miss You- Incubus

Now it’s a Tuesday and even less is going on. Some of it on purpose, some of it beyond my say in the matter. It’s been raining intermittently, a few drops here and there, no thunderstorms like it was announced. I haven’t been outside much today and didn’t play the guitar at all. I felt maybe a day away from the guitar would give me a different approach to playing since yesterday was alright but not like I had hoped. I just called the Guitar Bar and the show is going on as scheduled. Not going to make the other meeting though.

That’s more of a meeting for door to door canvassing and I am not feeling that at all. When I did go out I met my friend Mike who lives up the street. He is playing a show at DC’s in Hoboken next Monday and I will more than likely attend that. Last night I was DJ’ing at Louise and Jerry’s while sitting at home. It went well for a few hours. Rand was also DJ’ing and even showed up at Louise and Jerry’s and DJ’d via his smartphone. My smartphone is incompatible with the app that is required.

I was asked to join Rand and Lisa but going out requires money and money is something I am doing my best to hang onto lately. Plus I really don’t go out anymore. Some people think it’s a bad thing, but after years of going out almost every single night, I don’t think I am missing anything except for the company of some dear friends. They understood that I am an old fart so I was okay with that. But it seems I am going out tonight so I guess I am not such an old fart, just particular in when and where I go.

Already the boots are on to head out and I will be heading out in about an hour. Last night I stayed in and when Bill came home we watched True Blood and the Newsroom. Both shows are ending the season in a week or two and we enjoyed both of them, though Bill did feel a little squeamish with the gore on True Blood and there was plenty of gore to go around. He stayed up and I went to bed first, falling asleep and thinking how comfortable I was in my own bed.

Looking west, it looks cloudy and ominous, looking south it looks cloudy and quite nice. I suppose whatever front will get here first will determine the evening’s plans. And like I wrote the boots are on, and I have shaken off the dust from the Xanap I just had. Bill is at a rehearsal with the dreaded cast from hell. They intruded on the TV watching last night with countless phone calls. A wacky bunch indeed. Bill kissed me goodbye this morning but was filled with apprehension with regards to what he was going to have to go through tonight.

Bill is usually excited about having me seeing whatever show he is involved with but this time, for the first time he is rather ambivalent about the whole thing. Of course my opinion is tainted on the issue and if and when I do go to see the show I will know about who’s who and the stress they put my spouse through, for I am especially loyal to Bill of course.

Now I am already to go out, the boots are on, I just had a sandwich and after a stop at the bibliothèque it’s a walk to the Shipyard Park to see the Guitar Bar All Stars. No idea if the funniest girl alive will be there, so I will have to wait and see.

02 Come Down In Time

I Miss You- Blink 182

Yesterday was such a nice day. Nice enough that I don’t feel like writing today, but here I am writing again. If Truman Capote were around and reading blogs he might have said ‘That’s not writing, that’s typing’. That is what Truman supposedly said about Jack Kerouac. I can’t fill Kerouac shoes, he was a 10.5 and I am a 12. It would be painful and awkward and I would be in dire need of an orthopedic shoe. I just returned from busking again, not too busy a day though my guitar playing has improved somewhat. I hadn’t busked since last Thursday.

Like I wrote, yesterday was nice, really a top day. Pleasant weather, nary a cloud in the sky. I did some filing, my nails have gotten back to where they should be. I strolled the waterfront promenade once again, enjoying a cigar. I found a spot and sat and read Lucking Out by James Wolcott. I’m enjoying reading about his exploits with Pauline Kael, hanging out at CBGB’s and a fixation on porn. When I finished reading yesterday, AIDS was beginning to make its appearance. The grim reaper and it’s scythe taking out a generation of gay men and soon to spread to non-gay men.

I remember hearing about GRID- Gay Related Immune Deficiency, or the gay cancer as it was first known. It was the beginning of the paranoia of the pandemic and I was still deep in the closet, living the two lives that I led back in the day. One of the symptoms was a loss of appetite, a wasting away. I told someone that in the future, overweight men will be the desirable set following the death of the clones. It didn’t take into consideration that there would be two sets, the gym bunnies constantly fixated on chiseled abs and toned bodies and the other group being the bears, the hirsute, stocky men.

Having never set foot in a gym I lean towards the bear contingent though I consider myself to be a wolf, and a lone wolf at that. When smoking was permissible in Central Park, when I would have the time to check out the disco skate circle I would be either opposite the bears on Bear Hill or above the bears at the top of the hill enjoying a cigar and enjoying the tunes. Since the smoking ban I haven’t been in Central Park. In fact since I was dismissed from the cigar shack I haven’t gone north of 47th Street.

While sitting and reading I got a phone call from Billie in DC. It had been a while since we last spoke and we kept missing each other on various phone calls. He’s doing well, working and in good health thanks to the government of Washington DC. I told him the story about my dismissal, how the guy who claimed to have no ego was pissed off and his ego bruised by what I wrote exactly. Billie was great and laughed several times at my tale. He knew I was unhappy there and claimed it was god’s doing that got me out of there.

He mentioned that he was thinking about taking a Bolt Bus from Washington DC and having a day trip to Manhattan. That would be great and since I have the time it seems likely that it would happen. It would be easier for Billie to come up here than for me to get to DC since in DC we would need a car to get around where in Manhattan no car would be needed. Billie’s visit is something to look forward to and hopefully we will get together soon enough.

I walked around Hoboken afterwards, talking on the phone with Lois and running into my friend Roger with his wife Dina and their 3 month old son Kennedy. What a happy chubby baby. Dina looked great as did Roger. It was fun catching up with Roger for a while and I walked them back to their car before heading home. Bill was home when I came home, so happy to see me. He was in better spirits than he was earlier. He had gone to Philadelphia on Saturday and while there his wallet was stolen, pickpocketed.

He had enough to get to Manhattan but had to borrow some cash from the producer of the play he is working on. We watched the closing of the Olympics, annoyed with Bob Costas and Ryan Seacrest endlessly talking over whatever as going on. We surmised it was because Americans needed to have things spelt out for them, instead of just showing the images without comment. They cut out Ray Davies singing Waterloo Sunset, and also Muse while postponing the Who, who were mediocre. And still no Elton. What was that about?

And I am DJ’ing from home again at the local tavern right now…


The Nick Colas haircut!

Jimmy Roselli

05 All Night Long

I Miss My Mary

Saturday night’s alright in general. Been a fairly nice day, woke up being hugged by Bill which is a really nice way to wake up. He came home later than expected last night and I stayed up waiting for him to walk through the door. Bill was exhausted once again, but I guess the opening of the play went well. I went to bed soon after Bill’s return and at 3:00 he was still awake working on something for the play. He told me this morning he didn’t go to sleep until about 5:00. After 4 hours of sleep, there was Bill hugging me in bed.

Bill went off to Philadelphia to see his friend Martha who has been working in theater for a number of years. I suppose Martha is his theater guru. So a Greyhound to Philly was in the cards for Bill. I stayed local of course, doing whatever it is that I do one weekends. It’s not busking that’s for sure. I don’t even know if anyone is busking on a weekend. When last I checked on a weekend, back when I was working, there was Tim who would be doing nearly note perfect Bob Dylan songs from when I was born.

The weather forecast was for thunderstorms on and off throughout the day. Well that never happened. Still I wore my boots when going outside, looking up to see blue skies with the occasional cloud groupings but no rain. Now as the sun sets, the skies have some possible rain clouds but I don’t know what they will do until they get here. The cicadas are singing their songs and it’s unlikely I will be going outside again. Plus there is a Harry Potter marathon on again and true to my nature, I am drawn into it once more.

There is a meeting for the Hoboken Fair Rent Association on Tuesday, of course it’s the same night as the Guitar Bar All Stars doing another show, this time at the Shipyards rather than Sinatra Park. Hopefully I will be able to do both but it will be cutting it close. Once again it depends on the weather. If it’s raining I doubt here will be a show at the Shipyards.

I did stop by the bibliothèque and got two DVD’s I ordered. One is The Fantastic Mr. Fox which I have seen before. Nice cute movie by Wes Anderson. The other is the award winning, The Artist which I had not seen. My sister loved it as did many people who have seen it already. After the Harry Potter marathon I can always throw it in the DVD player and enjoy it properly. The errands are done, I’ve eaten dinner and I have taken off my shoes.

Not much else planned for the rest of the evening and not much planned for tomorrow as well. And I have my doubts on writing tomorrow since it is a Sunday and you know I don’t write on Sundays despite what GZA might have to say. So it goes.

Cornelius Bros And Sister Rose – Too Late To Turn Back Now

I Might Have Been Queen

Ugh what a day. Really a crap shoot with the rain taking the house to the cleaners. It rained a lot today and I have to admit my disappointment in the fact that I was not able to do any busking today. New guitar strings, they really ring out when strummed and I was looking forward to hearing how it sounded outdoors. Plus there a few songs that I had been practicing since yesterday afternoon and I was eager to try them out. But no, it rained on my parade. So I was unhappily housebound most of the day today.

I was able to run out and get some errands done and that’s about it. When it had stopped raining, it was too wet to go busking. Where I play is under some trees which would have been laden with rain water and water is no good for a guitar. There really isn’t anything to write about today. The play Bill is stage managing opens tonight and Bill can’t wait until the run is over with. He was quite stressed when he came home last night, and got some things off of his chest.

He usually works with theater companies and productions that appreciate the work that he does. Not this company. Road blocks and hassles seem to be going method of putting it together. I am telling tales out of school and it’s not my place to tell them. I tried to make Bill feel better somehow by telling him now he has the whole experience. He’s worked with people that like and appreciate him and now he is working with people that simply do not. Whether or not it helped I don’t know but he was able to relax after that, and I strummed my guitar and sang for him.

I’ve been catching up on my reading, The New Yorker, Mojo magazine, James Wolcott’s last book- Lucking Out. I was saddened to read that David Rakoff passed away after a battle with cancer. He was a very funny writer and I have one of his books somewhere around here. A friend gave me one of his books, ‘Fraud’ I think early in this century. He was blurbed by David Sedaris so if you like David Sedaris you probably would have liked David Rakoff as well. In fact, all the Davids seemed to like David Rakoff which makes sense.

I may go out for a walk but looking west out the kitchen window the clouds look ominous. It’s just as well, I’ll just stay inside like I’ve done most of the day. Impressive clouds they may be, I find them to be a hindrance to my happiness. Now it’s sunny again. No consistency to this day it seems. And I know inconsistency! Still, I have my sneakers on, ready to go out should the desire arise. I’ve eaten dinner, and I am almost at my daily quota so anything is possible really. Well not really anything, perhaps almost anything.

parallel parking in Hoboken

They’re Coming to Take Me Away
01 Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

I Might Be Wrong

All hail Thor, for today is Thor’s day or Thursday. And the god of thunder has been heard with his goat driven chariot a little while ago, going across the skies. It’s been a good day, my laundry is mostly dry now. I saw my old friend Martin Kelly this afternoon. He’s a shift supervisor at the local CVS and he’s a good man. We both worked together at Maxwells years ago and I have a fond memory of having dinner with Martin and his late mother a long time ago. We chatted for a while before he was called off to do something.

Last night was pretty mellow, me and Bill hanging out. We watched The Ed Show and some of the Olympics while he got his stuff together for the opening of the show he is stage managing tomorrow. Lots of drama going on, more than usual. Then again it is theater and what would theater be without drama? Comedy? I’m the sounding board for Bill and his daily tales of the problems with the cast. They’re his stories and so I am sure they will come out one way or another. I’m content to sit and listen to Bill.

I went to bed earlier than usual, not out of being tired, but rather out of being bored. I slept well and remember a dream I had regarding an apparition of the Virgin Mary. In the dream I touched whatever it was that Mary was appearing on and all of a sudden I could fly or rather float around. No one else in the dream had the ability to do this. Maybe it was from being under a yellow sun as opposed to the red sun I was initially born under. ‘Born under a red sun’, that sounds like a blues song.

Since I went to bed earlier it stands to reason that I woke up earlier. I busied myself soon enough, a shower, some coffee and cereal and a trip outside where I met Martin Kelly and then a trip to the mediocre supermarket nearby. I came home, sent out some resumes and read emails.

Apparently the Marlee Matlin/David Patterson job that I interviewed with in early May have filled the position and the underling I met with sent me an email to let me know. How nice of them to remind me of something I had totally forgotten about. I guess dropping Jimmy Seltzer’s name (as a friend of David Patterson) did not help me in the least.

Today was a good day for busking and last night I brushed up on Can’t Find My Way Home by Steve Winwood when he was in Blind Faith. I played it for Bill and all of a sudden he got real serious. It was unnerving but it turns out he might use that song for his one man show that he plans on putting on next year. Don’t worry I will relentlessly remind you of this grand event. Perhaps the two people that comment (and therefore I know that read this here blog) will be able to attend.

I showed Bill the Steve Winwood video from last night’s entry and explained to Bill that yes indeed that was the same Steve Winwood who sang ‘Higher Love’. Bill and his lack of knowing rock and roll can be quite charming. When Bill went to bed I continued practicing the guitar and figured out how to play Make Me Smile by Chicago. I never really liked Chicago but it is a good pop song. And after about a half hour I was swinging.

So I was busking this afternoon and came across a guy that I see from time to time. I don’t know his name but he’s a pleasant enough dude. And he can talk quite a bit. I was itching to play but he kept going on about meditation and Krishna consciousness. During a break in the conversation I finally was able to play Can’t Find My Way Home and sure enough a string broke. I can’t change a string to save my life and packed up and walked with the dude towards the Guitar Bar.

He talked about mantras and I told him a story from when I was growing up. It was a late Saturday afternoon and my father decided I needed a haircut. I didn’t want a haircut but I had no say in the matter. We got in the car and drove from Lodi to Fair Lawn. My father’s friend- John Fontana was a barber and had a shop. On the way there I chanted, Hare Krishna, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Jai Guru Deva and anything else I could think of.

We got to the barber shop and I was happy to see that it was closed. But inside was John Fontana and he opened just for us and I got my unwanted haircut. So the chanting helped to a point, the shop was closed. But to my dismay it was reopened just for me. Silly, tricksy gods.

The dude left me at Washington Street with a prayer, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. I went to the Guitar Bar and saw Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro. I explained that my string broke and he asked if I wanted the one string changed or all of them. I said all of them and then he asked when I needed it. I said as soon as possible. He was in the middle of something important, more important than little old me and lent me an Ibanez to use.

I strummed and made a couple of bucks again and a few hours later I came back and just like the old British TV show, ‘Jim’ll Fix It’, Jim fixed it. And at a good price. He’s a great guy. Love him. I left with a newly strung guitar, fourth time this week I have visited the Guitar Bar. Jim’s going to be touring with Ian Hunter & the Rant Band in a few months. See them if you can.

13 Can’t You Hear Me

I Might

Apparently it’s hump day. That’s the word on the street. I am still hamstrung by what a friend said to me back in May. I was trying to do something that was out of the ordinary and thought I was doing well with it, until I got the phone call. The friend was annoying and perplexed and irate and wouldn’t listen to my explanation, instead telling me how they would do things which were opposite the direction that I was going in. It did my head in and the train of thought was derailed, enough so that I have not been able to get back to what I wanted to do.

I think if I didn’t take the phone call I would probably be in a better writing place right now, further ahead than I had ever been before. Thinks would be progressing quite nicely. Or perhaps I would have derailed myself eventually. But in any event, the concept is still in the back of my mind, quite a distance from my fingers on the keyboard. Why they didn’t just write their comments in the comment section instead of calling me and stopping the train is beyond me. I am resentful.

So that’s my hump. Today was a laundry day, lots of t-shirts and underwear and socks. And shorts since it’s been months since I’ve worn pants. And also months since I wore a suit & tie. The job listings are slim. I get emails about jobs in Hoboken and when I check, they’re in Rumson or Princeton or Roseland. Any place besides Hoboken. The resumes dutifully go out, nothing biting, no responses. I can understand why certain people would be reluctant to suggest me for a job at their companies since they read this here blog and figure I would write about their job.

So it goes.

After the laundry I headed out to do some busking. I was a bit anxious about running into Tariq and the drunkard set and it was unwarranted since they weren’t around. I did figure out how to play Can’t Find My Way Home by Blind Faith and I played that for a while, even doing my best to approximate singing like Steve Winwood. It really is a beautiful song, beautiful enough to make me forget that the dreaded Eric Clapton is in on it. I prefer to ignore that fact and concentrate on Steve Winwood.

The first time I heard Can’t Find My Way Home, was on a stellar episode of the long forgotten television show Homicide: Life on the Street. The way it was used was brilliant and obviously it struck a chord with me. It wasn’t until last night that I figured out what those chords were. And don’t forget I did meet Steve Winwood while working at the cigar shack in 2010. Nice guy, a day off a tour and did not want his photo taken which I was cool about. I did shake his hand though and I do have the memory.

I did see the toddlers again. They get so excited to see me, they clap and jump and attempt to dance to whatever upbeat things I play. It really is a highpoint to my busking afternoons. The women who watch over the kids seem to like it as well. But once the kids settle down and sit on the curb to listen then it is time for them to go. The idea of being out and about is to keep moving, not to sit down. They always wave and yell ‘Bye bye’ when they are heading back to day care.

A few adults watch it and are generally amused and for me I’ve been timing my busking to coincide with the toddlers outing. I was hungry when I finished and decided to treat myself to Mamoun’s Falafel on the way home. I hadn’t been there since Annemarie left the east coast and I am glad I went. I sat inside and read James Wolcott last book, ‘Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York’.

Now I am home, probably in for the night and it’s not even 7:00. Not much to do and no one to do it with. Bill will probably be home soon, so that will be nice. That’s it for my plans.

So it goes.

Can’t Find My Way Home

I Met Him On A Sunday (Ronde Ronde)

Well it’s been an interesting 24 hours I think. Last night I wound up DJ’ing at local tavern Louise and Jerry’s for about 4 hours. It went fast. It was a reggae thing in celebration of Jamaica’s independence 50 years ago. That enabled me to go back to my reggae roots in the 1990s and get down to it. Rand joined me and we ‘spun’ records with the bartender Brian. Of course I wasn’t there, it was all done via the internet. My choices as well as Rand’s were queued up with Brian and it was all playing live at the tavern.

Bill enjoyed it but went to bed really early due to exhaustion. I picked tracks from around 6:30 until 11:00. Both Rand & I quit at the same time, which means we might have left Brian high and dry. I did hear the Easy Star All Stars version of With a Little Help from my Friends and Radiohead’s Karma Police which was a real treat. So much of a treat that I snagged both the Sgt. Pepper and Radiohead dub versions. Very cool I think. At 11:00 came the news and of course it was mainly all bad.

I slept fairly well, under a sheet with the air conditioner on. Bill was out cold of course by the time I joined him in bed and I had to make sure he was alive since his skin felt a bit cold. But he lives and I was greatly relieved. Once again he kissed me goodbye in the morning, leaving me with a smile on my lips and words of encouragement in my ears. I of course was grouchy. I made up for it hopefully by getting Bill his unsweetened Almond soy milk which isn’t cheap by the way. Plus Bill knows I am not a morning person.

The Airwalks I bought a while ago have finally bitten the dust. At least I could feel the dust through the hole in my sneakers. I guess I wear them often enough and they served me well. The only place that sells Airwalks these days is Payless and luckily there is a store in the Newport Mall about a mile or so away. I was going to go yesterday but decided not to, so it had to be today. I walked over to the mall around 11:00 this morning after sending out the resumes once again.

I listened to the Easy Star All Stars on the iPod and picked up a few cigars at Hoboken Cigars by the Path train. It was a lovely morning as I walked and inside the mall it was not crowded at all. I was the only customer in Payless and picked out my new Airwalks and after I bought them, I put them on, throwing out the older pair in the garbage bin. They served me well. Some window shopping before heading back to Hoboken on a lovely afternoon.

I came home and had some lunch before heading out for some busking. I walked over to the promenade and saw Tariq with another dude. Tariq’s guitar was in his gig bag and I set up next to the other dude’s bicycle. Tariq is fond of playing songs that all the other buskers play, I am not. He’ll see a kid in a stroller and play for them Guns and Roses, Sweet Child of Mine. I play Roadrunner by the Modern Lovers.

Some toddlers made their way and I dutifully played for them. They were soon on their way and I decided to pack up my stuff and move to a location where I could be alone. I didn’t want to infringe on Tariq’s space since he was there. And some of Tariq’s friends came by with a guitar and a conga and a fifth of vodka which was passed around.

I declined and started to make my way. Tariq and the others said I didn’t have to go but I lied and said I needed to practice. The guy with the vodka said there’s no rule that says I had to move to practice, and I said I know and I don’t play by the rules anyhow and headed farther away. I don’t think it went over well but why would I care what a bunch of drunks think?

I walked away from Pier A to Pier C and found it sufficient enough to play there. And I made some money while playing so I was happy. It is a nice thing to make a couple of bucks and seeing people enjoying my playing. I think my time spent with Tariq is dwindling. I don’t like the crowd he hangs out with. I certainly enjoyed my playing and I think I will spend more time at my new spot rather than the spot where the other buskers usually play. Perhaps I will play on Washington Street eventually.


02. With A Little Help From My Friends

I Melt With You

A Monday again, and another mass murder, courtesy of a white supremacist in Wisconsin. Shot 5 Sikh followers at their temple, and a police officer who arrived on the scene. The piece of shit murderer was shot by another police officer and slain. I guess the piece of shit thought the Sikh communities were Muslim, therefore worthy of slaughter. Muslims don’t wear turbans though, only the Sikh do. Two weeks ago it was the shootings in Colorado, this week it’s Wisconsin. And of course shootings go on all the time. It’s a fact of life and a fact of death.

I guess there should have been a discussion on gun control between Colorado and Wisconsin. Some said it was too soon when people were still recovering in the hospital and the dead were still being buried in Colorado. So no discussion was had. I don’t suppose the memo stating when the discussion could take place was distributed properly at the appointed time. Too soon becomes too late. And here we are, all of us with blood on our hands. A terrible tragedy and a terrible reminder that something really needs to be done about the easy access of semi-automatic guns.

Away from the gunfire, things are alright relatively speaking. Yesterday Bill had gotten us tickets to see ‘Siren’s Heart- Norma Jean & Marilyn Monroe in Purgatory’. Yes, an off off Broadway show in the middle of the theater district. At a synagogue of all places, the Actor’s Temple Theater. It was also the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death which added poignancy to the evening. I headed into the city via the Path train, knowing that there would be a lot of traffic on a Sunday night. It turned out to be a smart idea, at least it was on paper.

I snagged a seat on the train and got as far as Ninth Street where the train stopped and the power was shut off. The reports were of a police action at the 33rd Street station so everything had halted. I was due to meet Bill at 7:00 and it was going on 6:00 and knowing that the information could very well be misinformation I decided to get off the train and walk the rest of the way. That was a walk from Ninth Street and Sixth Avenue to West 47th Street between Eight and Ninth Avenues.

I had a cigar and proceeded to walk the hummus streets. By the time I got to 14th Street I was quite sweaty. By 23rd Street I was drenched and people were staring. I didn’t care, I was listening to Led Zeppelin. Rain was expected so I wore my boots as I trudged up the avenues. I was reminded about how I don’t really get around Manhattan these days, too many people who don’t know how to walk on the sidewalks.

I made it to 47th street about 15 minutes early. No sign of Bill so I sat in a concrete playground near the temple and texted Bill where I was. He was then in front of the temple and texted me back telling me just that. He was happy to see me, I was sweaty and not so happy. I knew I needed to get into a better mood so I did my best. Once we were inside things got better, my mood elevated and my temperature dropped.

The play was alright, it was the second show of the first day so there were a few flubs. Sound cues were missed and stage props fell off the back curtain during the show and Marilyn could have been miked better. And 2 different knobs had their cellphones go off despite being told to turn off your phones before the show. Louisa Bradshaw did a great job of it, playing Norma Jean and Marilyn with humor and grace and not too much pathos. It was a nearly filled house, or temple and it went over well. I told Louisa Bradshaw that she did a great job considering and she seemed grateful to hear it.

Apparently during the show the skies opened and everything was drenched when we went outside. We decided to walk to the bus terminal after I checked the Path schedule and hitting my jaw with my umbrella when it would close properly. No glass jaw here. Bill and I watched The Newsroom and then he went to bed. I stayed up and watched True Blood (a lot going on there). I missed Harpy’s call since my volume was down on the phone since the theater. I also missed Casey Chasm’s call the other night.

I was about to go to bed and instead I watched the landing of Curiosity module on the Mars surface. I watched it from the NASA website, all the techs and engineers in the control room anxiously watching or listening to the events as they happened. Millions of miles away, things were delayed by about 14 minutes I guess. I was impressed and anxious myself. I wondered what we would find if everything worked, would we be upsetting something that shouldn’t be disturbed.

Too many science fiction movies I guess. Time will tell. So it goes.

Happy birthday Andy Warhol.

art installation in my hallway

06 Radioactivity (Hiroshima)

Is that you Mr. B?

I Melt

Yesterday I had Turner Classic Movies on and it was Tarzan Day in honor of Johnny Weissmuller’s birthday. I only wanted to see Tarzan’s New York Adventure which was a classic when I was growing up. It was usually shown on weekends, so kids could see it. I wanted to see Tarzan jump from the Brooklyn Bridge. According to the information about the movie on TCM, it was not filmed in New York and they used a dummy thrown into a studio back lot swimming pool to create the effect of Tarzan jumping into the East River to escape the police.

There were interviews with Maureen O’Sullivan and Johnny Weissmuller’s son, as well as some Edgar Rice Burroughs know it alls. I enjoyed it a lot and still love watching the Tarzan movies all these years later after I first saw them which is many years later when they were first released. I never saw the one with Bo Derek and I never saw the television series either. I guess its Johnny Weissmuller for me. I sure would like to have that Tarzan yell though. Still pretty impressive I think. Carol Burnett did a decent job of it I suppose.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe. Dead at 36 which is a really a terrible shame. Way too young. So on Turner Classic Movies it seems to be all Marilyn Monroe. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was just on, and now it is the Seven Year Itch, from Howard Hawks to Billy Wilder. Lately I’ve been just putting Turner Classic Movies on. Perhaps it is escapism from the mundane reality. In any event it works for me. Memories of movies that my mother used to like and movies that I liked when growing up and seeing them on TV.

I am also reading Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone. What a tough nut he was. Definitely not someone I would like to get to know. I did meet Joey a few times, the last time was the day after Christmas at Farfetched. He bought a slew of holiday cards since they were now half price and I didn’t recognize it but he certainly had some obsessive compulsive disorder, which Johnny puts down throughout his book. He ran the Ramones like an army unit, tough rules and schedules but he did make sure they got paid.

They never made much money from record sales and survived by ceaseless touring. Johnny wrote how they made more money once they broke up than they did when they were a band. Most of the money came from merchandizing. Those Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee t-shirts really brought in the dough. I can only guess Tommy and Marky must have gotten a cut. And Tommy and Marky are the last two surviving Ramones. Of course that discounts CJ Ramone And Richie Ramone. Elvis Ramone went back to playing drums for Blondie.

Johnny certainly had a lot to say besides praising George Bush when the Ramones were inducted into the hall of fame. It’s an interesting book and though he was a pain in the ass to deal with, he was focused and looked after the band since if he didn’t then it probably would have fallen apart a lot sooner than it actually did.

03 Danny Says

I Me Mine

Friday in Hoboken. The streets are clearing out, plenty of parking once again. And hardly any money to be made busking. I should have known but still I enjoyed myself and came home with fifty cents more than I did when I left earlier. A meager profit for this meager prophet. Still it was somewhat productive. I try to learn a new song every now and then and last night I taught myself Blondie, Heart of Glass. Of course not a synthesizer in sight and none of Clem Burke’s excellent drumming. Just me on my trusty Fender F-210 acoustic guitar.

There was hardly anyone around on the riverside promenade. My trusty toddlers with their guardians made their way past me and of course they jumped up and down and clapped their hands as I played the Modern Lovers, Roadrunner. Tariq was nowhere around though his woman Francine walked by and I chatted with her for a few minutes. She left and a little while later I started to get my stuff together as Tariq walked up. I was playing for two hours and sweating quite a bit. Tariq hit me up for a smoke and once he got his another friend of his showed up and asked me for a smoke, offering me a swig from his bottle.

I declined and made my way home after showing Tariq the chords to Heart of Glass which I am certain he has forgotten by now, instead focusing on whatever everyone else plays when busking. That’s a reason why I don’t play with other buskers generally. I will not lay Sweet Child of Mine by the ultra-horrible Guns and Roses. Oddly enough, other buskers don’t play the Beatles at least not while I am around. I guess I don’t play well with others.

Last night I attended a meeting of Hoboken Fair Housing Association. The local developers are trying to get rid of rent control here in Hoboken like they’ve done in a few other towns. Hoboken being the jewel in the crown for New Jersey is now in the crosshairs. Last year a provision was on the ballot in November with a slippery wording included at the last minute, changing that if you were for rent control you should vote NO. So a lot of people voted YES and hobbled the rent control laws inadvertently. I would have been involved anyway, and a friend of my brother Frank is involved and has gotten me involved as well.

There were a few people from the past at the meeting, some people I had seen around town for years, others I knew like Fred and Lois. They made an appearance before going out for an anniversary dinner. Things are planned, things need to be done. I was reminded by one of the speakers that there are more tenants in Hoboken than there are landlords. If people can be reminded of this as well there might be a chance that rent control could be stabilized.

Unfortunately I also learned that no one on the city council is a renter, they’re all property owners so we can’t really expect much help besides empty words from our local government. Half the council seems sympathetic to the rent control cause and the other half sides with the developers. I remember Jim Mastro organized a protest in the 1980’s against overdevelopment of the waterfront.

I went with some Maxwells people including Julio, who out of the Maxwells people was the only one born and raised in Hoboken. The protest march started at 14th & Washington Streets and at every cross street we would stop as a bell tolled and we decried the death of the waterfront. As we got closer to midtown Hoboken we passed a stronghold for the then mayor, Steve Capiello. They recognized Julio and gave him shit for marching with us, these interlopers. How could Julio betray them in such a way?

You’d think with the internets it would be easier to get people involved, since in the 1980’s it was mainly through fliers and word of mouth. There were I guess maybe 30 people last night. Word is getting out, some people planning on guerilla tactics on putting up fliers to educate people. Others making plans for more civilized things. Less than three months to go. Baby steps last night, hopefully we will be walking fully in a week or two with more people!

07 Maybe Tomorrow